Category Archives: I am

May the Force

Six years ago when I had had more than enough I asked someone I barely knew to meet for a cup of coffee, and she said yes. In that single decision, she gave me back a city I so wanted to love, and so much more than that. Today, I do not wish to ever imagine my life without her. She is a joy. Tomorrow, she takes a big step. She is leaving her city. The one she has come to call home, but it is for the best possible reason, to pursue their dream. To make their life what they want it to be. I know that they’re worried, they are still caveating the decision with, ‘We’re going to give it a year.’ I would add those words too were it me.

I know that this is the best choice for them. I have been reminded often the past few weeks of something I told another dear friend, ‘The only regrets in life we have are the risks we don’t take.’ I know those words to be true. I also know those words have sometimes gotten me into trouble, but they have also lead me to paths and people whom my life would have been less without, including the friend leaving their city. Selfishly, I sill wish she wasn’t leaving.

I feel like I am almost back to where I was six years ago. Only, instead of wanting to be anywhere but there, I long for the city’s familiar streets and sounds. I miss the freedom given to me since the city and I came to our truce, I ask nothing of her and she takes nothing of me. Now, my talisman, the one I could turn to when I felt myself turning back, will be gone. I never thought I’d have to make this journey without them again. I have to ask myself if I have changed enough to be able to go back to her on my own. I do not know if I have.

May the 4th. As she leaves and as I return, may it be with us both.

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And Seven More

“For every seven years we change completely, they say, and there is nothing left of what they were.”

Without realising it, I’ve reached another seven. Thirty-five years today. I would say it sneaks up on you, but it doesn’t really. Sure, sometimes you forget the exact number, but when you’ve had so many, they’re hard to not know they’re coming. Thirty-five. Five times over I have become someone else. That sounds about right.

When I think of who I was when I was 28yrs old, they are a world away. An entire galaxy away from who I was when I was 21yrs old. And though I still cannot comprehend how many years there are between now and my 14yr old self, I find it even more difficult to see how this life came from that one.

There are things that still persist. Friendships. I choose those carefully, and the fact that so many have endured is testament to how well I have chosen. And there are those, whose friendships I have not kept such a tight hold on, that remain in my heart, if not in my life. The Job. I still work for the same company if not the same role. I still sit next to Graham, well kind of. We still go to lunch on the days we’re both in together. The wanderlust. I see that my last post was in 2012 was a Bucket List. I have not crossed off a single item. If anything I could add a dozen more. But then I think, the last item…I may have found some of that. So much is different too. There is a marriage. Nieces and numerous other little people. A mortgage (I fear that will still be there in seven years). I bake. All the suggestions of a grown-up life, but still that title is not one I wear easily.

In my 28th year I finally made that trip to Cambodia I had been planning since my 21st year. My final impetus? I did not want to look back two…five…seven years later and say that I should have gone then. So I went. I am still hoping for a return. That year I also started watching this webseries that would change the course of my entire life. Who I am now, who I have in my life, had I never clicked on that link, I can say with certainty that this would not be my present.

I cannot say I have any idea of who I will be in another seven. I know who I want to still have in my life. I have a vague suspicion that those in my heart will still linger, as will this hunger. This need for more. To see experience more, to see more, to be more. Through the thirty-five that has always persisted. Through the seven, I hope that remains.

Onto the next great adventure. I suppose this means I’m also due another tattoo…

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The Bucket List

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Normally around this time I answer the questions for my ‘Year in Review’. I can’t remember how long I’ve been answering those questions for, certainly back in the LJ days. It is a way to test my memory, and also for me to see how much has changed or stayed the same. I answer questions on the places I have travelled to, the people I have lost, the lessons I have learned, and songs that will remind me of that year. For me 2012 was so full I am not entirely sure where to begin, so I decided not to. This year, I have instead chosen not to reminisce and reflect on what has happened, but to look ahead at to what is to come and what I hope to achieve.

I have experienced some new and wonderful things this year, amongst them my first Olympic Games in my city, my first real Thanksgiving, and of course, holding my niece. However, this year more than most has been one in which I kept coming back to that same longing Belle sung about in ‘Beauty in the Beast’, “I want adventure in the great wide somewhere…”

In a year in which so much has changed I still feel as though I have been stood still. I have not been amazed. And I fear I am guilty of that thing I always warn people against; I have not seen the wonder in each in every day. I need to live again. To that end, I have decided to write my Bucket List.

For those unfamiliar with the term (or who haven’t seen the movie), a Bucket List is simply a list of things you want to do before you die. Perhaps not what most would choose to think about at the start of a new year, but I think it allows you to focus on what it is you want to achieve.

Here is My Bucket List:

  • Camp under the stars like a cowboy
  • Ride a motorbike across an open highway
  • Go on a Safari
  • Witness something wonderful that makes me speechless
  • Watch a Wimbledon Final in person
  • Be in two places at once
  • Make a difference
  • Twirl beneath the Northern Lights
  • See the stars arrive on the Oscars’ red carpet
  • Throw a really good punch
  • Catch a big fish
  • Be a force of positive change
  • Have more in my ‘Yes Column’ than my ‘No Column’
  • Go on a roadtrip from one end of a country to another
  • Fly a plane
  • See the sun rise whilst sat on Ayers Rock
  • Catch a ball in the stands during a baseball game
  • See a whale in the wild
  • Build a home (literally)
  • Volunteer with elephants
  • Watch a meteor shower
  • Climb 14 flights of stairs without getting winded
  • Find the Joy in your life

The last one is from the movie; I hope everyone else has that on their list too.

The list will change. Things will be added, others hopefully crossed off. I am a living work in progress.

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“The time has come…”

In my mind, this poem has a line that goes, “The time has come to talk of grown up things.” It actually reads, “To talk of many things: Of shoes – and ships – and sealing wax – Of cabbages – and kings.” That sounds a lot more interesting than the things I’ve been talking about lately.

On the eve of another turning of age I feel more grown up than I ever have. That’s not to say I necessarily feel older, although I have counted more grey hairs lately than I would have liked. Sharing the elevator with one of the more senior ladies that live on my estate who shares the same birthday with me, I was reminded that I will never be as young as I am right now, again. As much as I may bemoan the fact that I am truly a 30-something, she is a 70-something. No contest really, but I feel very much a grown up now.

I have tried to deny it for some time, and I think I do a pretty good impression. I wear t-shirts with Sesame Street characters on – there will be one worn tomorrow. The concept of saving was a thing I sort of did and would do once I got the important fun stuff out of the way, like spending weeks in the jungle looking for apes. I have a grown up job but know that eventually I will get onto the real business of writing. The impression isn’t as good as it used to be.

I am waiting to complete on a mortgage – my grown up investment. I am making plans to settle down – I was told by my friend that she wanted us all settled by 2013, she may get her wish. I am postponing trips, saying that I’ll make them in 20…10…okay 5yrs if I cannot hold out that long, and having to actually save for a vacation – my grown up budgeting. When did that happen? It is not where I thought my life would be, even at the start of this year. Life proves to me once again that I should not count on making too many plans. I certainly didn’t plan on being this grown up.

To be honest, for the longest time I have believed my 32nd year would be my last. It isn’t a morbid death wish; I have just never been able to see me past that age. I am completely uncertain about what the year ahead has in store for me. All I have is that one constant – things will change. For the first time in so many years I feel myself having a touch of the mean reds. That feels very grown up.

I will meet this next year, and whatever it brings, the only way I know how, head on, knowing that I do not face it alone. I told a friend that I realised that I need the people I have chosen around me. He beamed at my realisation; finally I am starting to get it. I wish I could say it was my resistance to accepting that he is right, but I think it is more that these are lessons we have to come to in our time. I am still learning.

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Resolution

This year I was considering whether or not I should have a resolution. I sort of had one last year; well I had a post-it telling me to sit up straight. I say I might have been successful half of the time. Not a great success rate when considering whether I should take on a yearlong promise. However, circumstances led me to a resolution that I should be able to keep. Not because it is an easy resolution, but because if I am to be who I want to be, then I need to do this.

Originally, I had decided that my resolution was to be kinder. There are simple things like smiling to people when you inadvertently catch their eye rather than immediately looking away as though one of you has done something wrong, willingly holding the elevator for someone you know is running to catch it rather than pressing that close button as fast as you can, helping people you know are lost but are too scared to ask for directions. Simple decent things that often when you live in a city you close yourself to because you’ve got places to go and things to do. Living and working right in the centre of London it is so easy to block even the most smallest of human interactions out, this was the year that I was going to stop. And then it dawned on me.

Being kinder would not be enough. Yes, it would be a big step. I think those basic acts of human kindness can’t help but change you. They may seem small but it is easy to forget how much an unexpected smile can change a person’s day, particularly when it has been a long time since your day has been changed in that way. If I was going to try and be kinder, to be a better human being to others, then why not simply make that my resolution – be better.

So there it is. In everything I am and in everything that I do I will strive to be better this year. No small undertaking. There is a lot I do that I can improve on, not least of all my writing. That is one area in 2011 that I did not work on enough, and whilst I can say that I wrote every day, I am not able to say that what I wrote every day was of any substance. I will be better. I will be a better writer. I will be a better friend. I will be a better reader. I will be better with my finances. I will be better keeping in touch with people. I will be better with deadlines. I will be a better godparent. I will be a better person.

I hope I remain this resolute.

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